17 Oct, 2023

HIPA Concludes Judging for its Twelfth Season of Competition

The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) has concluded judging for its Twelfth Season of competition, ‘Diversity’. The Five judges presided over submissions in the competition’s four main categories; ‘Diversity’, ‘General’, ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Digital Art’.

The list of international judges for the twelfth season witnessed the presence of the famous British photographer “Tim Flach”, who previously won the HIPA Appreciation Award, along with the Secretary General of the Oasis International Wildlife Photography Competition, the Italian photographer “Maurizio Tentarelli”, accompanied by the photographer and author “Shem Compion” a wildlife photography self-constructed hides specialist, from South Africa.

The list also includes the Kuwaiti photographer and designer famous for his abilities in digital manipulation, “Suleiman Al-Mawash”, in addition to the British photographer and editor specializing in wildlife, “Sophie Stafford”.

The Secretary General of HIPA, Ali Bin Thalith said, “Our Board of Trustees work diligently each year to ensure the selection of the HIPA judging committee is perfectly aligned with the season categories and each judge has the expertise, experience and credibility needed to deliver the level of judging that has become synonymous with the Award. Our diverse team of judges each bring a unique perspective to the judging process and ensure we have a comprehensive and robust review of the submissions. Our judges are dedicated not only to the process but our photographers.”

HIPA Twelfth Season Judges:

Sulaiman Almawash | Kuwait

A graphic designer from Kuwait, Sulaiman Almawash was always captivated by the world of art found online - which led him to be one of the first artists to publish works that combined photography and digital technology to the Middle East. His proficiency in Photoshop allowed him to unleash his imagination and creativity, share his expertise and encourage people to explore and learn about Photo Manipulation. 

Sulaiman has participated in several international art exhibitions, including the 1x Decade Exhibition in Shanghai and the China Sanmenxia International Photography Exhibition. In the realm of awards and competitions, he has achieved notable success including winning the 1x Photo Awards 2016 in the Creative Edit People's Choice category, securing a Gold Medal at the Cairo Film Festival in Egypt and Gulf Film Festival in Bahrain. He was also a merit medal recipient of HIPA’s Sixth Season competition.

For Sulaiman, this art of photo manipulation is a medium through which dreams come alive on the computer screen.

Maurizio Tentarelli | Italy 

Born in Ivrea (Italy) in 1971, Maurizio Tentarelli developed a deep passion for photography from a young age. His journey in the world of photography led him to collaborate with various photography studios, where he honed his skills and acquired valuable techniques.

In 2010, he embarked on a new chapter by joining the editorial team at Oasis. Right from the start, he made a significant impact by penning numerous articles focused on environmental issues and the beauty of the world. His dedication extended beyond the written word, as he actively organized events across Italy, dedicated to promoting the magazine's themes.

Today, he not only stands as a key partner in the magazine's evolution but also holds the esteemed position of General Secretary for the ‘Oasis Photo Contest’. His expertise in photography has led him to become a respected member of numerous national and international photographic competition juries.

Tim Flach | United Kingdom

Tim Flach is a renowned photographer celebrated for his distinctive animal portraits. His artistic vision is driven by a profound desire to narrate the tales of the natural world, with his work standing out for its originality and its capacity to provoke contemplation about the role images play in the realm of conservation science.

Tim has produced seven multi-award-winning books, including ‘Birds’ (2021), ‘Who Am I’ (2019), ‘Endangered’ (2017), ‘Evolution’ (2013), ‘More Than Human’ (2012), ‘Dogs Gods’ (2010), and ‘Equus’ (2008). His remarkable body of work has found its place in major public and private collections, while his exhibitions have graced galleries around the world, including prestigious venues like the Museums of Natural History in Paris and Beijing.

Tim’s outstanding contributions have been recognized with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts London and the distinction of being an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society (2013). He also serves as the President of the Association of Photographers and holds the esteemed title of Artist in Residence at Linacre College, University of Oxford.

In recognition of his exceptional talents, Tim was honoured with the HIPA Photography Appreciation Award in 2019. He resides in London with his wife and son, continuing to captivate the world with his remarkable visual storytelling.

Sophie Stafford | United Kingdom

With a lifelong passion for animals and over 25 years of publishing experience, Sophie Stafford is a dedicated conservation communicator. Her journey began with a deep love for wildlife, evolving into a distinguished career. As the editor at BBC Wildlife Magazine in Bristol for nearly a decade, she directed the publication through a changing landscape, revitalizing newsstand sales, introducing digital platforms, and overseeing the transition from film to digital photography.

A prominent figure in the world of natural history photography, Sophie has served on numerous competition juries, including the Natural History Museum’s prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Presently, her focus lies in helping leading conservation charities in enhancing supporter engagement through visual storytelling. Notable organizations, such as the Natural History Museum, WWF-UK, London Wildlife Trust, and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, have benefited from her expertise.

Sophie has also helped in launching and establishing Prince Harry’s charity Rhino Conservation Botswana (RCB) in the international conservation arena.  Furthermore, her contributions extend to Wildscreen in Bristol, where she helped launch the Festival’s first Photo Story Panda Award. Her academic background in anthropology from University College London (UCL), combined with her fieldwork at Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), has added depth to her extensive conservation portfolio.

Shem Compion | South Africa

Shem Compion is an adventurer, nature photographer, creative author and photography hide builder, obtained from years of observing birds from his self-constructed hides. With an unwavering dedication to sharing his love for the natural world, he is one of the few remaining professionals who have turned their passion into a full-time career in wildlife and nature photography.

Born in Africa, Shem's photography has taken him around the globe, showcasing his diverse and celebrated portfolio in various publications. His extensive knowledge and insights to understanding animal behaviour, coupled with his photography skills, has made him a sought-after expert at international photographic conventions.

In 2005, Shem co-founded C4 Photo Safaris, where he continues to lead and host photo safaris. As an innovator, he implemented and built the first dedicated underground photography hide in Africa at Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. This unique perspective offered by the hides attract photographers from around the world.

In addition to his photographic endeavours, Shem is an educator, authoring several books. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, London, and remains committed to exploring the wild and remote corners of Africa, consistently producing creative photographic work during his journeys.